BP Plc, Europe’s second-largest oil company, will shut its solar power unit and quit the business entirely after 40 years because it’s become unprofitable.
The company will wind down the unit, BP Solar, over several months, Mike Petrucci, the unit’s chief executive officer, told staff in an internal letter last week. About 100 employees will be affected.
BP Solar is withdrawing from an industry that’s facing oversupply and price pressures after Asian competitors increased production. Panel prices plunged 48 percent this year, helping tip three U.S. makers including Solyndra LLC into bankruptcy, and Solon SE (SOO1), Germany’s first listed solar company, filed for insolvency last week.
“The continuing global economic challenges have significantly impacted the solar industry, making it difficult to sustain long-term returns for the company,” Petrucci said in the letter.